This week’s technology news from Amicus ITS – Friday 4th October 2013

MS Office is no longer the selling point it once was for phones & tablets
Microsoft has been using Office as a selling point for Windows Phones and Surface tablets. Apple announced at WWDC that all future iPhone and iPads will be able to download the iWork apps for free. Google is now following suit with a partnership with Quickoffice to allow free access to all Android users. This diminishes Microsoft’s USP in this market. When Office 365 is available on all phone platforms but only by subscription, why pay for 365 when can use an alternative programme for free? To take back control, Microsoft needs to ensure their mobile Office tools are undisputedly best in class and that you get what you pay for.

Screen scraping – the big steal
Defined as copying all the data on a target website, screen scraping in this instance is not the reluctant exercise with your car on a frosty morning. Rather, it is a means for companies to anonymously harvest time critical data and profit from rival websites. Affected industries include financial institutions, bookmakers, online insurance companies, online directories and the travel industry – with loss of revenue and diluted confidence in brand. Blocking measures to differentiate between genuine customers and the 40% of scraper traffic is tricky and the impact can slow up servers and reduce bandwidth. It is a growing problem sign of a new direction in industrial espionage.

Is Government’s new Joint Cyber Unit – the new Mi10?
In a bid to counter the spiralling threat of cyber attacks, the Government has announced the creation of a new Reservist division of IT experts, both full time and part time to work alongside regular forces in defending national security. The JCU will also have the capability to launch strikes in cyber space. With the goal of protecting computer networks and safeguarding vital data, the Government is making a public effort to interface with private sector expertise. Let us hope it thwarts logarithmical IEDs in time.

Windows Phone on the rise in the UK
Windows Phone is still gaining market share. Growth in Europe, especially in the UK shows significant increase. 12% of UK smart phones sold are now Windows Phones against 3% in the US. Nokia produces the majority of Windows Phones now with a strong brand loyalty across Europe. With the Microsoft-Nokia deal planned, the idea of dropping the Nokia brand may backfire, given that the ‘Lumia’ brand Nokia has been using on its Windows Phones is searched for more online than ‘Windows Phone’ itself. The wrong brand choice could undo much of the promising growth occurring on the Microsoft Phone platform, thanks to Nokia.

World’s first digital laser
South Africa’s CSIR laboratories have created the first digital laser. Using an LCD inside a laser, the normal digital pictures were converted and the laser output changed in real time from one mode shape to another. This evolution offers an advancement from traditionally costly devices and time consuming control of the laser beam and has the potential to become a disruptive technology to the current market. The researchers believe (and hope) this has widespread implications for future technologies and applications across devices from communications to medicine.